Meeting business needs & iterating on user experience

Company overview

Demandwell is a start up focused on helping customers grow their SEO organically. Their approach combines SEO expert consultation with platform automation allowing the user flexibility depending their own experience level. Mainly based in Indianapolis with around 50 employees.

Demandwell’s approach to product provides the customer with a holistic software to improve SEO. Supplying the user with tools for keyword generation, content production, performance tracking and site monitoring.

The challenge

Ordering automation, visibility & better UX

This project stemmed as a result of the high usage of our content product, the number of content+ customers, and the human-intensive need to service customers. Our goal with this release was to immediately impact our cost-to-serve for our existing customers and add assurances for customers interested in purchasing content production.The main problems we aimed to solve were:

  • 1. Consultants were a bottleneck for communication & delivery
  • 2. Customers had no visibility on content progress after ordered
  • 3. Writers with lots of content struggled to stay organized

My role

My Position
Lead Product Designer
4 weeks planning, 6 weeks development
On this project I was the lead designer. I worked with the product team — 2 PMs, another product designer and our CTO — and 3 engineers on the project. Throughout the whole design process we continued to get feedback from other stakeholders such as the CEO, director of engineering, Head of services, consultants and other engineers when needed. Feedback on this project was very frequent and crucial due to us making changes to heavily used flows by content production managers and customers who make their own content.

Once final designs were critiqued by the CEO, Head of engineering and various other stakeholders — Files were prepared for handoff. During handoff I was available for questions and possible revisions if needed.

I stopped working on the project after final rounds of QA were finished and approved.


Evaluating & understanding current flows

It was key to understand existing flows and how we could not only improve them, but also seamlessly add in this new offering. End product would allow the user to manually produce everything or be pick and choose what parts of production process they would like to participate in. By automating this within the product we would reduce the cost-to-serve for this particular segment of customers.

Understanding the new offering to be productized

Within the Demandwell content production flow there are 3 main components — Selecting keywords, building outlines and writing content. These components were self service or you could purchase through Demandwell. Selecting keywords and writing content were already add-ons customers could purchase, so our job was to fill the gap and allow for premium customers to have access to purchase content+.

Early insights

Increase visibility and also improve content quality

This new flow not only would provide another service through the product, but it would also supply more defined statuses and approval steps along the way to ensure the customer was receiving the best output which would hopefully eliminate complaints and possible rework on our end.

Improvements must not disrupt current flows

With many users currently using the software we wanted to make sure any and all changes would not disrupt their current content production process. After talking with engineers to get a better understanding of the backend it was important that suggested changes still fit — or at a minimum — improved the current structure.

Automation to improve scalability

There were a lot of manual tasks performed by different teams to help deliver services to the customer. By automating these tedious tasks — sometimes being the bottleneck in the  process — we would eventually reduce the cost-to-serve each new customer and provide a solid foundation to onboard more customers with varying needs.

Shifting the responsibility onto the customer

Not only would automating these tasks reduce the cost-to-serve each customer and make the company scalable, but it would give the customer more responsibility on seeing through their content gets delivered on time. Placing orders and approval steps in the hands of the customer to ensure they had more insight.


All users and edge cases

The flows being designed would not only be used by customers, but also by Demandwell employees in charge of fulfilling any orders being placed. With many users with different permissions and edge cases we needed to be simple, but complex at the same time. Offering similar — if not the same — UI for each user with essential information and actions needed to complete various tasks.

Statuses & sections were unclear

With only three sections and limited statuses there was a lot of grey area that customer’s content could fall into during the fulfillment process. More in-depth sections and statuses within the platform would provide the user with better insight to what part of the process their order was in without having to reach out to an employee. Eliminating unnecessary communication and or time spent by customers and consultants.

Improving existing internal processes

With direction on what problem to address it finally gave our company time to evaluate the current process around what was to be productized. With this time our team worked with the content production team to discover ways to utilize automation to improve efficiency and quality of what was to be delivered.

Reframing the problem

Automate tedious tasks to save time and improve existing flows without disruption

After discovery it was identified that there were more areas for improvement while adding the new service offering within the product. As the lead product designer it was my job to do exploration on all ways to improve the current offering in a non disruptive way while fitting in the new offering with efficiency.

“ might we serve the new customer base within the platform and make UX improvements for existing customers without disruption?”

This raised the question, what areas of the content production process desperately needed improving and how do we suggest changes that do not disrupt the usability for current users? This resulted in a slight redesign of the content planner list page and headers throughout the flow that contained key actions dependent on the users permissions.

Design Strategy

Improvement of UX overall

Identifying key areas to make UX improvements for the existing and new customer base. Now was a key time to iterate on the MVP product released years ago.

Increased ordering visibility

Statuses not being clear had to be addressed. Adding UX verbiage to clearly identify stages and more granular statuses would help visibility.

Eliminate internal work

With a lot of time being spent with a consultant communicating we needed to put more of the key actions into the customer’s hands to shift the ownership.

UX improvements & the new offering

Clearer sections & less scrolling

Writers with lots of content struggled to stay organized within the Content Planner due to accordion sections that each contained various statuses. After release the Content Planner was redesigned to allow for better organization and tracking of content with new tabs, stages, icons, and tooltips.

New statuses & notifications

After the first release there was a lot of feedback that customers did not have a clear way to understand the progress of their order. Along with clearer sections and statuses, Demandwell would now send email alerts to the user who orders the content as it progresses through the writing phases.

Automating ordering & outline approval

New outline orders and approval were previously communicated all via email. Our CPMs would create an outline, get it approved and submit the order for the user. After launch customers would submit their own orders & approve outlines through the platform. Eliminating any unnecessary communication and saving everybody time.

Utilizing the same UI for multiple edge cases

Before this release customers asked for Consultants to place orders for building outlines and creating content. Consultants had to hand deliver every piece of content. After, customers now own the placing of their content and the platform owns the final delivery, not Consultants.

The launch

Successful launch with a few modifications due to time constraints and lack of communication

Overall the project was a success. We delivered the new offering, increased visibility and overall improved UX for all users whether or not they were utilizing Demandwell’s full services. Receiving positive feedback from customers/ internal teams about the updates.

Like any project though there were some speed bumps along the way. The project started 2 weeks later then anticipated due to bleed over of an earlier project and there was a lack of communication between FE & BE engineers so a few things were missed. To combat these issues we came together to see if the things that were missed were vital to launch or could be put in a backlog for later.

The impact

Positive results, keeping customers more organized and responsible for the ordering process

The project had a positive impact on overall user experience and saved time for customers and internal members, at the time of writing (3 months since launch). Daily active users rose due to the shift of order responsibility and progress notifications leading the user to the platform.

Increase in
Increase of
in-app orders
Saved internally
per order

Results above were recorded 45 days after launch. After launch there were 2 additional weeks of continued work on fast follows to continue improving user experience to ensure the best experience possible.

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case study 3/4 👉